If you own a rear- or all-wheel drive vehicle and are in a rear-end collision, the impact can sometimes cause damage to the vehicle's transmission. The transmission of front-wheel drive vehicles is not usually affected by such accidents.
A vehicle's transmission is usually located beneath the car, behind the engine block. For cars with all-wheel and rear-wheel drive, the transmission sits farther back from the engine, closer to the back of the vehicle, than those with front-wheel drive. This can cause the transmission to be damaged if the vehicle is rear-ended.
How Damage Can Happen
In an all-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle, the driveshaft runs from the rear axle to the rear of the transmission. If the vehicle is hit from behind in an accident, the force of impact may bend or push the driveshaft into the rear of the transmission. This could cause damage to the transmission, causing it to falter.
If your vehicle has been in a rear-end collision, signs that your transmission has been damaged include transmission slipping, which happens when you step on the accelerator but your car does not speed up, harsh shifting and starting in the wrong gear.